Saturday, 11 February 2012

Rope Review

Fig.1. Rope poster
The suspenseful take on the play under the same name, Alfred Hitchcock maintains the atmosphere of a theatre play through the seamless scenes as it takes place in real time and edited into a single continuous shot. Hitchcock gives the audience all of the information, but intelligently plays with it to draw tension.

Fig.2. Uneasy Philip and over-confident Brandon
Alfred Hitchcock "has made his camera a random observer in an elegant suite of rooms in which a murder is being committed just as the picture begins" (Crowther, 2000) so the audience is to watch anxiously as the events unfold. It is a method that Hitchcock has used many a time, and the success of the execution is of no surprise. The tension derives from the audience's knowledge of an event that will effect later events, but the circumstances elude the audience in such an antagonising way that it arouses an urge to take control of the situation.

Whilst the situations evolve around the murder of their 'friend', the goal later becomes to include their old housemaster into their plans due to this 'inferior' and 'superior' mentality. It is the same idea that inspired the murder in the first instance. One that had originated from the housemaster himself, though he never saw the flawed logic until it was put in practise by Brandon. This film, as Dennis Schwartz said, "dallies around arguments about Nietzschean philosophy, his "Superman" theory, in order to take down that elitist belief as possibly being used in the wrong way to justify criminal acts" (Schwartz, 2008).

Fig.3. Publisher, James Stewart interrogating the two boys

Hitchcock tested himself and, as Emanuel Levy said, "his medium by working in tough, confined spaces, as was evident in 'Lifeboat,' set entirely in a lifeboat" (Levy, 2005). He restricted himself to a single room, with minimal editing with the cleverly cut shots occurring in dark scenes or behind someone, to dispel the thought of a short lifespan of the film reels. The long shots convey a sense of real time, and that there is a continuous and constant threat of tension.

A masterpiece that did not follow the traditions of editing and is complimented for such thing, Rope creates tension and suspense the moment it begins and successfully maintains it throughout. Cleaver witty lines and quality star acting are the icing on the cake for this classic.


Figure 1. Alfred Hitchcock (1948) Rope Poster. At:
Figure 2. Alfred Hitchcock (1948) Uneasy Philip and over-confident Brandon. At:
Figure 3. Alfred Hitchcock (1948) Publisher, James Stewart interrogating the two boys. At:


Bosley Crowther (2000) New York Times. At:
Dennis Schwartz (2008) Ozus' World Movie Reviews. At:
Emanuel Levy (2005) Emanuel Levy Cinema 24/7. At:

1 comment:

  1. *Cleaver* witty lines and quality star acting are the icing on the cake for this classic.... (I think Hitchcock would approve of this typo!) :)